Apr 21 - Illinois Signs Mercury Switch Bill into Law

Illinois’ Governor Blagojevich will be signing the Mercury Switch Removal Act (HB5578) at a public ceremony on Saturday, April 22nd at 12:00 PM.

The Mercury Switch Removal Act will greatly reduce the amount of mercury in Illinois' environment, and it will go into effect on July 1st of 2006.  The Mercury Switch Removal Act will remove up to 800 pounds of mercury from automobiles before they are processed for scrap.

HB5578 represents two years of negotiations between the automotive industry, recycling industry, steel industry, and environmental community.  It is a comprehensive program that ensures high capture rate by making auto-makers, steel industry and recyclers responsible for ensuring that switches are removed before autos are recycled and providing compensation of $2 per switch to recyclers to cover the expenses of removing, storing and shipping used mercury switches.  Also, the legislation requires educational materials and assistance for removal / storage of the switches.

California is still in negotiations with the Auto Alliance and the state Department of Toxics over a memorandum of understanding. The Auto Alliance has already distributed collection buckets and a 1-800 number to all affiliated SCADA auto dismantlers and mercury switch collection has begun. A press event unveiling California’s mercury reduction program is tentatively scheduled for May, 2006.